Editorials 8.8.2018 08:50 am

National Health Insurance plan: we will all suffer equally

This picture is for illustrative purposes only.

This picture is for illustrative purposes only.

The latest figures show that healthcare in Gauteng should be in intensive care itself and given urgent resuscitation.

Yet more evidence of South Africa as a failing state emerged this week in answers provided by Gauteng health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, in response to questions from Jack Bloom, the Democratic Alliance’s member of the provincial legislature.

According to official figures, as many as 20 000 people may have suffered adverse effects – presumably including death – at the hands of negligent or incompetent medical staff across the province.

The most dangerous hospital in Gauteng – from a patient’s point of view – was reported to be Chris Hani Baragwanath in Soweto, which had 4 320 serious adverse events (SAEs) since 2016. The lowest culprit was Heidelberg Hospital, which recorded 42 over the same period.

Bloom argues that the so-called medical mistakes are happening because of “system failure” brought about by “poor management and lack of consequences” for medical staff.

Coming on the back of the Life Esidimeni scandal – in which 144 patients died – the latest figures show that healthcare in Gauteng should be in intensive care itself and given urgent resuscitation.

That something like that would actually happen under an ANC administration does not seem likely.

Qedani Mahlangu, the health MEC under whose watch many of these atrocities against patients occurred, has not only escaped political or any other liability for her failure to run the department properly, but she has been given a seat on the ANC’s provincial executive committee. So has another former Gauteng health MEC, Brian Hlongwa, who is accused of purloining hundreds of millions of rands of taxpayers’ money.

And now Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi wants to implement the National Health Insurance scheme and basically nationalise healthcare.

Motsoaledi’s idea of equality seems to be simple: everybody will suffer equally.

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